As a mother of 4 children, I am always surprised at the different personalities of my children. And while the number 4 is not a full representation of the world’s population, it does me give some great insight into how people respond, interact, function, and (yes) fight with others.
Disagreements in marriage, a “difference of opinions”, arguments, fights – are all synonyms of the same event. The volume levels may change. The causes of them may differ. The outcomes can significantly impact everyone in the home. Like the weather, it is not a question of “If” disagreements will come, it is just a matter of “when” the time will be.
So the question remains how can these disagreements be stopped or at least kept to a minimum? Could anything make them more appealing?
(1). Refuse to be goaded into a fight
This one is really, really hard. Our natural impulse is towards picking fights with people. To remember past offenses and bring them up. An old English word “goad” comes to mind here
Goad: provoke or annoy (someone) so as to stimulate some action or reaction. Dictionary.com
If you have ever seen jealous siblings, then you know exactly how this works. Child #1 wants something AND he wants to make the other person to react in a negative way. Child #2 may actually be behaving before this event starts, but then Child #1 takes the item and quickly dashes away. The “smack” is heard as blows are thrown, tears start coming, wailing voices. Or, words are thrown at each other, name-calling, hollering/whining for Mom to come and intervene in the fight.
Usually, both children get in trouble after this event, because the reaction and the reactor were both wrong. As parents, we look at these and just sigh because the same event is repeated multiple times throughout the day.
As adults, I wish I could say, that the goading stops. But we all know better. When one person is angry with another, it is easy to goad them by our actions. For example:
— By purposely doing something that annoys the other person.
— Make snide and snarky comments about previous events that didn’t go well.
— Reminding them of their families’ past failures.
— Pinning them down (emotionally and verbally) for an answer to just get a reaction out of them.
— Purposely starting an argument because you know they will lose their temper and will look like a fool in the end.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. Gregory King
A true sign of a wise person is one who refuses to start an argument, goad someone else into one, and refuse to fight when they see it.
Be different. Refuse to fight!
(2). Let love cover a multitude of irritations
The trash cans are overflowing. The garbage needs to be taken out. The dog needs a bath. The toilet is dirty.
Irritations can come at you in various ways, but when you see that irritation, you have a decision to make in that instant. How will you react? Will you fuss and nag at your spouse because a chore that is “their” responsibility is suddenly not done?
You have a choice in that moment; you can either be upset at the little things or simply say to yourself “Its ok, I can take care of the little irritation because I love this person.”
(3). Ask for a time-out if you need it.
Sometimes in our effort to solve a fight, we just let it all out. And yet, in that moment we are emotionally involved in ways that blind us. The heat of the moment is just too much and often words are said that are never meant (or never should be said in the first place!)
It is ok to ask for a pause. To go away for 20 minutes or an hour and then come back and talk some more together after you have both calmed down.
(4). Choose the right time, place, and emotional level to have discussions
At the end of a long-hard work day may not be the best time to bring up that the garbage was not taken out. Nor may the best time be right after you walk through the door. You know your spouse’s schedule and when they can talk to you. If need be, schedule a time. Get a babysitter if you have to, or put the kids to bed and then talk.
The most important thing to remember is to talk when you are both able to without interuption and WITH calmness.
Marriage is a reflection of your life in general: how you treat people, how you argue, how secure you are in your own thoughts. How vehemently do you argue your point of view? With what disdain do you view the other’s point of view? William Shatner
The choice is up to you how you choose to fight with your spouse. Those irritations and disagreements will come so make the right choice today.
Have you found a way to avoid arguments and fights in your home? What irritations were you able to overlook because of love? What lessons and valuable insights can you share with me? Shout out in the comments section; I’d love to hear from what worked for you!